National Apprenticeship Week

3 March 2014
IET Communications team
Share |
National Apprenticeship Week logo

The IET is proud to support National Apprenticeship Week.

This week (3-7 March) is National Apprenticeship Week – a great chance to celebrate the UK’s apprentices and how important they are to society. More and more businesses, politicians and other decision-makers are realising the importance of apprenticeships, especially when it comes to tackling unemployment and boosting the economy.

The IET has always gone above and beyond to champion apprentices and, in the last year alone, a number of initiatives have helped boost the profile of apprentices and apprenticeships.


IET awards for apprentices

Lydia Feasey, a mechanical engineer from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), was the very first winner of the IET’s new Apprentice of the Year Award in November 2013. Lydia was chosen for the award in recognition of her outstanding technical understanding and ability, and her ambassadorial role in schools, through volunteer work and as a role model.

Sara Underwood, a higher apprentice at Rolls-Royce, won the IET’s Mary George Memorial Prize for an Outstanding Apprentice at the 2013 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards. Sara said: “Engineering is a challenging but rewarding industry to work in and it’s great to receive recognition from such a long-running and respected institution as the IET. Hopefully this award will mean the industry can continue to invest in the talents of female apprentice engineers for years to come.”


IET Signature

Last year also saw the launch of a brand new IET membership product for apprentices and technicians - IET Signature. 'Apprentice Signature' and 'Technician Signature' offer targeted support for apprentices and technicians, and both programmes are designed to move an individual seamlessly and progressively towards professional success. These programmes deliver the tools, information and support that apprentice members require to succeed in the workplace, building a solid foundation for career progression.



Today (3 March) will see the launch of EngTechNow – a new campaign, spearheaded by the IET alongside the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which aims to increase the professional status of Engineering Technicians. The campaign aims to create 100,000 professionally registered Engineering Technicians by 2020, to support growth in the economy. 

During National Apprenticeship Week, there will be plenty of activity online promoting the new campaign, so keep an eye on the #EngTechNow hashtag on Twitter to find out more.


Apprenticeships more popular than degrees

It is not just businesses and politicians who are seeing the importance of apprenticeships, but also young people faced with increasing university tuition fees.

Figures from the Skills Funding Agency show that in 2012/13, 66,410 young people started an apprenticeship in engineering and manufacturing technologies –more than double the 27,155 young people accepted onto engineering higher education courses in 2013 (according to UCAS figures). Overall, in 2012/13, there were 510,200 apprenticeship starts compared to 495,595 accepted places for degree courses in 2013.

Michelle Richmond, IET membership director and a former apprentice, said: “With a university degree costing £27,000 in fees alone and with no guarantee of a job at the end of the course, apprenticeships are more popular than ever with young people.

“Engineering, which is fundamental to a healthy economy, is one of few professions where there is a range of entry routes for young people to start their journey to becoming a well-respected professional engineer. And with the recent Government Trailblazer initiative, led by the IET and other industry leaders to introduce new standards to make sure apprenticeships meet employer needs, we can only expect apprenticeships to go from strength to strength.”

More detail is available in this IET press release.